Monday, July 27, 2015

It's Backsplashin' Time

Captain Ahab's white whale. Jay Gatsby's green light. Monty Python's Holy Grail. Sarah's penny hex tile backsplash.

The thorn in our side keeping us from wrapping up this kitchen renovation. Several weeks ago, we had a Saturday planned to knock this thing out. There was quite a list of seemingly small tasks we wanted to tackle. Well, D had to be done before C, C had to be done before B, and B had turned into a royal pain in the A. By the time we got to the backsplash, I had to head out for band practice. Sarah and my dad went to work, and knocked out a small corner in the few hours I was gone.

Measured, cut, ready to install.

To say they were frustrated would be a bit of an understatement. Using the wet tile saw dampened the adhesive holding the tiles to the sheet, and they'd fall apart. Hand snippers took forever and made jagged cuts. But there was no turning back now.

Oh that's gonna look GOOD.

The next day, Dad calls. "Consider your backsplash done." What??? If you've read the blog before, you know dad does a bit of handy work. He called the tile guy he'd worked with before, and offered to pay for him to come finish it up. Uhh, YES PLEASE THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Even with all the help dad has given us throughout this process, this was possibly the biggest help.

Monday morning, dad's tile guy arrives. An hour late. Ok, I get it. You're doing someone a favor, contractors are almost notoriously late, etc. He then spends 15 minutes complaining about the tile we've chosen - how hard it is to cut and install - and ups the quote he gave dad by several hundo. Sarah didn't get a good vibe from this dude AT ALL. I mean, he's a professional tile installer, and the first thing he does on a job is start complaining? I tried this at my job and it didn't go over so well. Anyway, besides just plain not liking the guy, Sarah definitely didn't have the go-ahead to pay a lot more money than dad had offered. She asked him to leave.

This was a whole new level of frustration. Sarah emailed her tile rep, told her the dealio, and asked for a few installer recommendations. She took some pictures, contacted the installers, and waited for quotes. After some back and forth, we settled on a guy to come knock it out.

Installer #2, let's call him Chaz, comes the next week. We were so excited to come home from work and have our backsplash done. Halfway thru the morning, Sarah gets a call from Chaz. He says he should be halfway through, and he's gone about 2 feet. This tile has him beat. I mean, Chaz really felt defeated and was very apologetic. He didn't even charge us for his time. The wet saw wasn't working for him, and neither was using a dry saw. He thought this might be a bad batch from the installer or something like that. Yet another huge bummer.

Sarah contacts her rep again, who contacts the manufacturer, who gives recommendations on how to cut the tile. Put tape across the sheet where you are going to cut, and THEN use the dry saw. Sarah reaches out to Chaz again, and he's anxious to give it another shot, but after some phone tag we make the decision that we're just gonna have to do this ourselves. When? Well that's another story.

I was headed out for a weekend with the band, and Sarah had a weekend alone with the little project manager. He may be cute but he is AWFUL with a tile saw. Long story short, we had van problems and ended up coming home late Friday night. Dad came over Saturday, and they were gonna knock out that backsplash!

The manufacturer's recommendation of taping the sheets before the cut worked like a charm. Sure, it still took a while. But it was really happening.

Once C was down for his nap, I was able to help out. And that's when we realized we didn't have enough tile. I guess cutting the sheets messed up our math, because we did the square footage calculations like 5 times. Luckily, the shop is just down the street AND had some in stock. Dad had to leave later in the afternoon, but Sarah - like the determined champion - kept fighting. There were some spots where her pregnant belly wouldn't let her reach and I chipped in, but this was all her. This was her pièce de résistance. And she crushed it.

Then we grouted. And this massive kitchen renovation has light at the end of the tunnel.

Next up: the final overview. What we knew going in, what we learned, how dumb we are, what we can do better, how much you'll have to pay us to do this at your house, and some more hilarious gifs.

1 comment:

  1. So glad this worked out! Looks great! Found your blog through FB, sorry you had trouble but glad it finally worked because it looks great!! -April